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2. Traffic jam, moving slowly ahead

Family violence workers and services are so busy they are not always able to help victim survivors when they need it.

Illustration that shows four lanes of traffic being blocked by an animal and few cars getting past.
"When a survivor is forced to share parenting with a perpetrator, it is near impossible to recover. Perpetrators do not co-parent, they counter-parent. Survivors need ongoing, long-term supports in navigating endless coercively controlling behaviour." – Lily, victim survivor

Family violence workers and services are so busy they are not always able to help victim survivors when they need it. Once a victim survivor has accessed The Orange Door or Safe Steps, they can be referred to get case management support from a family violence service. After sitting on long waitlists, they may only get support from family violence workers for up to three months. But workers have said that this is not long enough, and that support is ending before victim survivors are ready. This leaves people to find more help and navigate the complex service system alone.

Services have been given more money to help people over the past few years, which has included the creation of The Orange Door as the main entry point for victim survivors to share their experiences and access the supports they need. But some victim survivors are having to retell their experiences many times to different workers and by the time the workers can help, they may not need that type of support anymore. There needs to be more thought into developing the service system beyond this point to ensure there are more support options available.

But what can be done?

We have suggested the following actions for the Victorian Government to tackle these problems (see full list for all 16 suggested actions(opens in a new window)):

Taking a more victim-centred approach

  1. Be clear about whose job it is to help victim survivors work out what help they need.

Make sure victim survivors can access the supports they need

  1. Look at getting male victim survivors their own family violence help.

Funding to help services support victim survivors' needs

  1. Ask for more things that victim survivors need, like housing, help with paying rent and mortgages, help from lawyers about legal problems, financial support and other supports.

More data and monitoring to understand the issue

  1. Get better information about how many people are wanting help, and how long it is taking them to get that help.

  2. Look at how people move through the system to see what problems there are and fix them to make it easier to get help, including for children and young people.